Welcome to the first recap of the third season of The L Word: Generation Q, brought to you by the same network that brought you the original L Word, a show that asked and never quite answered the question: Nipple Confidence?
My friends, it is an undeniable thrill to be back here in this space with you, writing Generation Q recaps, nose-diving head-first into a long-awaited frothy sea of Sapphic Chaos. As you know, Angie still has her kidney. Let’s dig in.
As the moon resigns and the sun wakes to rise, as the tides ebb and flow, as hurricanes gather and storms fill the clouds, as babies are birthed braying into the sanitized hospital air and tennis players are given fatal illnesses and left to die while their exes make small talk in a hospital courtyard, as wars rage and peace screams for attention, as the stars and LAPD helicopters light up the night sky and parents tuck their children into bed, so too do Bette Porter and Tina Kennard return to one another, over and over again, forever and ever, as predictable as the aforementioned rising sun, as inevitable as a tornado’s restless eye. And we, mere mortals, bear witness to this clash of legends, to The Song of Bette and Tina, Chapter 75, Verse 16.
As you recall, dear reader, we last left these fine young cannibals at a pivotal moment. Pippa was stepping out of a shiny car into her Fancy Art Show Debut, looking fantastic. Bette was at home but on her way out to meet Pippa — adorned in a killer white powersuit and armed with a penchant for sending conflicting romantic signals — when Bette opened her very own door to find a surprise guest on her doorstep. It was not, unfortunately for me personally, a Girl Scout selling cookies. Instead, it was the one, the only, the formidable TINA KENNARD.
We return to exactly that same spot: Bette dressed up to go out, Tina entering the foyer.
Tina’s got one question for Our Lady of Porter: “are you in love with me?” I think we all know the answer to this question (yes). Tina chastises Bette for destroying her romance with Groupon Queen Carrie — a woman for whom all of us would lay down our lives — but defers Bette’s offers to fix it. Because there’s no fixing the fact that Tina is — just like you! — in love with Bette Porter.
Tina: “I’ve loved you my whole life.”
Bette: “And I’ve loved you all of mine.”
Tina: “I just wish that you were fucking better at it.”
Tina storms out. Bette does a good old fashioned primal scream:
And her voice goes out into all of the earth, her words echo across the canyons of the world!
We then leap into our DeLoreans and race down the runway into a whole entire year later, where Alice is engaging in sexual intercourse with a mysterious alleged member of Generation Z I have identified as “Teddy,” played by Chris Renfro, who played Daddius in the short-lived Peacock reboot Queer as Folk. I love this crossover episode and a classic silly Alice sex scene.
Sex Scene #1: Why Don’t You F*ck Me On Your Livestream
Participants: Alice & Teddy
Materials: He wants to f*ck her face! He wants to watch her f*ck her clone! He wants to f*ck her on his livestream! Alice says yes to everything except the livestream, because she is famous! Good on Alice for setting boundaries.
We then transition into an enormous apartment that quite possibly is the apartment Shane’s had all along but newly redecorated. It is hereby christened The Shess Shack. Last we left these two, they were 11 days into their relationship and Tess had announced her intention to move to Las Vegas to care for her ailing mother and subsequently asked Shane to come with her to Vegas.
It’d appear that they listened to our podcast and therefore chose a far superior, third option: bringing Mom to Los Angeles. You know what I always say: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it’s your Mom getting sick and then she should come to Los Angeles.” So we meet Tess’s former showgirl Mom Patty, no relation to Peppermint, who is played by Joanna Cassidy (aka Margaret Chenoweth on Six Feet Under, my favorite show of all time).
Tess and Shane are in a tizzy regarding an MS Society Fundraiser they’re hosting that evening and Shane’s manhandling an assortment of prescription medications for Patty when Gloria the nurse arrives.
Tess’s attempts to canoodle with Shane in the living room are rebuffed by Shane, who is too modest to make out in front of people’s Moms. Everybody knows Shane is much better at making out with people’s Moms, hey-o! Anyhow, Shane and Tess shuffle into the lower level of this behemoth residence to steal additional sexual moments together.
Even safely downstairs, Shane’s still uneasy about having full sex right underneath Patty, but Shane cannot resist Tess’s wiles and eventually caves to the makeout. I just dropped a blueberry on the ground and I’m not sure where it is or if I’ll ever see it again.
Speaking of hot people being hot, we dash on over to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where Gigi and Dani are looking extremely hot and lightly teasing the prospect of a top-off before Gigi gets off Dani’s top, announcing she’s gotta dash due to a traffic situation in Los Angeles, the innermost circle of hell. Specifically, Beverly is down to just one lane! Dani has a great idea to fix this chronic civic issue: Gigi should simply move in! I’m going to run for mayor of Los Angeles on this exact platform.
Dani expositions that this has been the hardest year of her life — I imagine perhaps this is related to the ambiguous incarceration of her father, Lex Luthor — and Gigi’s been there for her all this time. Most L Word relationships transition into cohabitation immediately so bravo to them for taking it slow.
“Of course I wanna live with you,” Gigi says breathily, before delivering a crushing blow: she’s just gotta check with Nat first! Because of the kiddos. This feels like an extremely reasonable next move, but Dani’s face suggests she doesn’t agree with me on that.
At last we are now returning to the esteemed California University: the former employer of Bette Porter, legendary dean of the art school best known for banging an intern (Nadia) and the visiting artist (Jodi Lerner) and then cheating on Jodi with Tina (Tina), thus inspiring Jodi Lerner’s unforgivable video art installation “Core.” It appears Angie is joining the Cal freshman class, hoping to one day appear in an alumni newsletter with Brandon Walsh, Nadia the Intern, and Zach Morris.
Alice, exuding a post-coital glow from her romp with Teddy, is extolling the virtues of Gen Z — they’re hot! they’re smart! they’re bi! they don’t want the white picket fence! — in what feels like a self-soothing mechanism. She concludes that she was ahead of her time, and I agree. Shane’s bummed about a makeup artist cancelling for their MS fundraiser and Alice volunteers her Glam Team, thus saving the day.
Hark, look who’s here!
Angie asks where her Moms are which bring us to the best part of every season premiere that occurs after a lengthy time jump: EXPOSITION!
Firstly: Tina and Bette have been in touch this year, but mostly regarding logistics such as college tours.
Secondly: Shane’s all “domesticated” and grown up now that she’s living with Tess and caring for Peppermint Patty Chenoweth. (I changed my mind and decided there indeed is a relationship to Peppermint Patty.)
Thirdly: Bette’s been doing a lot of “personal work” of her own and “reflecting.” Furthermore, Tina is fine, totally fine, and not feeling even remotely weird about apparently seeing Bette for the first time in a long time.
“Speak of the devil,” Shane gestures towards the resplendent entrance to the University Drop-Off-Area as Bette Porter herself pulls up in her Tesla, gazing at Tina as Tina gazes at her, radiating effortless calm and cool which is immediately disrupted by a careless child recklessly parking her car directly behind Bette Porter’s car and subsequently ramming it right in the rear.
Shane, Alice and Tina assume Bette’s gonna unleash her documented road rage upon this poor soul, but this is new Bette! Evolved Bette. I’ve Done A Lot Of Personal Work Bette. When the student emerges crying from her car, Bette has nothing but serene words to share: “the only thing you have to do is hold compassion for yourself and enjoy move-in day.”
Ladies and gentlepeople, I would like to introduce you to…. THE NEW BETTE PORTER:
As Alice and Shane head upstairs with Angie and her possessions, Tina remarks fondly that she’d expected Bette to “bite that girl’s head off.”
“Well, we’re all gonna die,” Bette recites my own personal life philosophy. “So what’s a little bumper?”
Over at FiSoMi’s, Sophie’s panicking about Finley’s impending return to her home and into her arms, as apparently Alice paid for Finley to not only attend rehab but also sober living, both events consuming the entirety of a calendar year. Amid her compulsive rearranging of objects, Sophie finds a cute small box atop a dresser and pops it right open.
It’s a ring! It’s true: Micah’s gonna pop the question to Maribel!!! But before we can get into the details of this premature predicament, FINLEY’S HOME!!!
Finley drops her garbage bag suitcase and embraces her one true love, Sophie Suarez, who immediately spills that Micah’s gonna propose to Maribel, and Finley greets Micah, and everybody is home again. Most importantly to me: #SINLEY IS STILL ON.
Sophie and Finley relocate to a local civic park to discuss Finley’s experiences in rehab, which she testifies were just like 28 Days. Finley’s pretty bright-eyed about her sober future, certain she’s ready now to give Sophie what she needs, and Sophie’s trying her hardest to believe in this bright turnaround, too.
Not wasting any time or conforming to the actual guidelines for amends in the AA program such as asking for Sophie’s consent to be amended upon at this moment — Finley unpacks a square of paper containing her ambiguous apologies to Sophie and begins to read.
Finley confesses that when they were together she couldn’t see Sophie or consider her the way she’d like to, which was because she couldn’t see herself. “I’m sorry you had to take care of me and I’m sorry that I couldn’t see that the intervention was an act of love,” says Finley, which is a really generous re-framing of a truly unhinged intervention, and also re-writing history because we actually rarely saw Sophie taking care of Finley, usually she was just as drunk! “I’m sorry that I haven’t loved you the way you deserve to be loved, because you really deserve to be loved, well. Thank you for saving my life because you did, but you shouldn’t have had to. But thank you.”
Now that this amend is done and dusted, Finley moves on to discussing her optimistic plan for the future: she’s gonna get a job with benefits and a car and maybe go back to school? Sophie congratulates her on this unrealized dream. Finley promises to always be honest with Sophie and they laugh and kiss and roll around and it’s super cute and I hope that after this, perhaps off-camera in some tender night of the soul, they sit down and talk about how Sophie can support Finley in her sobriety and what this means for their relationship in general!
Back at California University, Shane and Alice are imploring Angie to call them if in need, while Bette and Tina are hovering, trying as always to resist the urge to plow over Angie with their overwhelming need to hold her extremely close while also respecting her independence as an autonomous human being. They offer her cash and then, in the grand tradition of mothers with smartphones, try to corral Angie into a selfie. She wisely refuses.
The Moms have just begun their exit through the hallway when Angie pops out and calls them back for a hug, to tell them she loves them. Bette is crying. It’s very cute.
Tina, who previously told Shane she couldn’t attend tonight’s benefit, asks Bette if she’s going to the benefit and when Bette says yes Tina turns her frown (no) upside down (yes) ’cause she’s got a big fat lesbian crush on The New Bette Porter! Despite her professional success, ultimately Bette’s always been a bit resistant to acknowledging that she still has work to do on herself. But her newfound dedication to that work is giving Tina the ability to feel hopeful about their future for the first time in a long time. Maybe this time getting back together will be less like “returning to their old ways” and more like “growing up together.”
Then Bette gets a call — it’s Pippa, who’s doing a show in South Africa, and Tina tries not to have a visible emotional reaction to this call. She mostly succeeds.